Friday, December 02, 2005

COMMENT: Hansard Hat-Trick

First it was my former election opponent and ALP stalwart the Member for Reid who named me in Federal Parliament. Mr Ferguson expressed some surprise at my criticisms of certain Howard Government policies.

Then my former colleague in the Conservative wing of the NSW Liberals, the member for Mackellar, decided to accuse me of being a “Muslim activist” who was known for his abusive attitude toward women.

I’m not sure if Mrs Bishop’s claims about my attitude toward women led to my being selected as an official Ambassador for the Australian White Ribbon Day campaign to promote the UN’s designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Although I am pleased to say my efforts seem to have convinced at least one prominent figure in the construction industry to improve his attitude toward women.

Now it seems that the Member for Melbourne Ports has decided to ask a question. Mr Danby was a former member of the Australia/Israel Publications, an unincorporated entity which has already mentioned my name in vain in a number of their publications.

Since that time, I am informed the successor to the AIP and Mr Danby appear to have parted ways. This, however, does not stop Mr Danby from publishing the odd attack on anyone deemed to be saying something even mildly critical of a certain non-Arab state in the Middle East whose name is not Iran.

Indeed, I am not sure if Mr Danby has actually ever asked a question pertaining to the people of his electorate. Admittedly, I haven’t checked Hansard of late. But it seems Mr Danby’s concern is less about contentious industrial policies or welfare reforms and more about protecting the reputation of a certain foreign country.

(I welcome Mr Danby or a member of his staff to correct me if I am mistaken.)

Of course, I have no problems with Mr Danby doing this. I mean, I don’t live in his electorate. Although if my local member spent so much time harping on about a foreign power (even if it be my parents’ ancestral homes in the Indian sub-Continent), I would be a tad concerned.

On this occasion, Mr Danby chose to focus on a local issue, and I must say his question was fair enough. Mr Danby’s questions to Mr Ruddock concerned some comments I had made some months back about an anti-Semitic text being distributed at a camp organised by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) in 1985/86.

Mr Danby, of course, decided to make my comments much broader, almost seeking to cast aspersions that all Muslim organisations (including presumably Cypriot Muslim groups in his electorate) are openly distributing anti-Semitic literature to young Muslim Australians.

To his credit, Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock addressed the issues with precision and balance. He noted that the claims I made concerned activities back in 1985, back in the days when it was OK to claim all Palestinians were a bunch of Jew-hating Nazis who hijacked planes.

In case anyone feels my description of the discussions between Messrs Danby and Ruddock is somewhat unfair, I reproduce the relevant section of Hansard which was provided to me by a kind journalist from the Canberra Press Gallery.

(Question No. 2279)
Mr Danby asked the Attorney-General, in writing, on 6 September 2005:

(1) Has he seen allegations by Mr Irfan Yusuf, a former Liberal Party federal election candidate, that Islamic organisations are distributing the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, to Islamic youth in Sydney.

(2) Has he seen further allegations by Mr Yusuf that copies of the Protocols are being supplied to Islamic organisations by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

(3) What steps is he taking to ascertain the truth of these allegations and what steps will he take to prevent the importation or circulation of material such as the Protocols which is fraudulent, defamatory, inflammatory and designed to foment racial and religious hatred.

Mr Ruddock-The answer to the honourable member's question is as

(1) Yes. I am aware of Mr Yusuf's statements to media outlets. Although I note the allegations by Mr Yusuf relate to an incident in 1985 in which he claims that he and other attendees at an Islamic camp organised by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils were provided with copies of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

(2) Yes. I have seen a statement made by Mr Yusuf to Radio National on 28 August 2005 that he received a copy of the book The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. I am aware Mr Yusuf further alleged the book had a stamp of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils on the inside cover and that the book was a gift from the Saudi Embassy. I note this allegation also relates to activities in 1985.

(3) The Australian Federal Police has not received any complaints or allegations regarding The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion since 1997. A strong criminal legislative framework already exists at a federal level. Mr Danby would be aware that the Australian Government is introducing a range of measures to improve the national security framework, including a new offence against inciting violence. Inciting a person to commit any criminal offence is an offence in its own right under section 11.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. In order to address situation in which statements aimed at the naïve and impressionable may incite criminal activity or terrorist acts, the Government has modernised the offence of sedition in sections 24A to 24F of the Crimes Act. These offences cover a person who engages in a 'seditious enterprise' with the intention of causing violence or creating public disorder or a public disturbance, or who writes, prints, utters or publishes any seditious words with the intention of causing violence or creating public disorder or a public disturbance. The new offence will address problems with those who incite directly against other groups within our community, including against Australia's forces overseas and in support of Australia's enemies.

There is a good faith defence where the communication is merely about criticising government policy. In addition, ASIO has said publicly that it works closely with police services in relation to threats to Israeli and Jewish interest and maintains regular contact with representatives of the Jewish community. ASIO also maintains regular contact with the Muslim community leaders and works closely with police services in connection with threats to the Muslim community. Mr Danby would also be aware that the Australian Government is introducing a range of measures to improve the national security framework, including a new offence against inciting violence.

Possible alternative measures available to deal with this material include prohibition as racial vilification under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, or the involvement of the Australian Federal Police where criminal conduct is alleged.

An application for classification of a publication may be made for Law enforcement purposes, under section 22A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995. I am advised that no application for classification has been made for this publication. Accordingly, no comment can be made on the appropriate classification of this book. If it were to be submitted, its classification would be a matter for the Classification Board.

The Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits racial vilification on the basis of race, colour, or national or ethnic origin ('offensive behaviour based on racial hatred').

Racial vilification covers acts that offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person or groups of people. The prohibition is subject to a number of exemptions which are intended to ensure that debate can occur freely in respect of matters of legitimate public interest. Complaints of racial vilification may be made to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 does not cover criminal conduct. Any allegations of criminal conduct should be referred to the Australian Federal Police.

Most importantly, it must be remembered that the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are fundamental human rights that are enjoyed by all Australians. These rights are subject to limitations that are reasonable and necessary in a free and democratic society to achieve an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and the protection of groups and individuals from offensive behaviour.


Anonymous said...

Do you believe "The Protocols of the learned Elders of Zion" are a forgery?

Anonymous said...

From what I have read, it sure is.

Irfan said...

I agree.

Comical_Ali said...

"Although if my local member spent so much time harping on about a foreign power (even if it be my parents’ ancestral homes in the Indian sub-Continent), I would be a tad concerned."

But its perfectly ok for the likes of Julia Irwin and Tanya Pilbersk to harp on about foreign affairs and go way over their jurisdiction, just as long as the member of parliament in question harps on about and parrots the "right things..."

On another note: I thought your recent webdiary piece on Leslie - where you mention the 1988 Hilaly lecture (and allege that the "Jewish community misinterpretaed him) and your subsequent exchange with a "John smith" where you invoke the Talmud and justify equations between Jews and Nazis (harping on about how you wouldnt mind if someone called you a "mongol" "why all the fuss?") - was appalling and offensive to say the least. At best, it was a pretty insensitive piece full of undeducated ramblings...hardly something which one would expect from a susposdly educated human right lawyer and "moderate" muslim.

You certainly dont do anything to foster good relations between Muslims and Jews...not to mention between Muslims and other sections of this mulitcultural society. ANd you did basically everthing to convince people like myself that there probably arent any moderates among Australian Muslims.

Anonymous said...

comical, it looks to me like you are a comical version of the highly strung john smith. do you really think most aussies give a crap about your views?

since when did irf ever praise irwin or that other ALP lefty woman? or are you still upset that irf refuses to blindly worship a foreign country as you do?

if you love israel more than australia, go and live there. why waste our time?

Comical_Ali said...

Hiding behind an "annonymous" poster? Nice try Irf.

And your reply is about as sophisticated as the "yo mama is so fat" rebuttal.

I never mentioned anything about praising Irwin - I merley mentioned the ommission or better still expemption of Irwin and her like from your rule of getting MPs to stick to their own local jurisdictions. Apparently, on Irf's planet this rule only applies to MPs who parrot the "wrong" world view. This hypocritical little Irf rule could be interpreted as a form of censorship...

As for my "going back to Israel" (ahh the old line of "go back to where you came from" so commonly used by racist bigots)...As a proudly bred Aussie, I dont feel a need to go there and my support for Israel certainly does not contradict my support for Australia, since the two countries have shared values. And your accussing me of duel loyalties??I think this is a classic case of "look whose talking" or the pot calling the kettle black. After all, its you who are oppossed to Australia, her government, her policies, and her interests and not I.

Its a real shame that the Muslim community of Australia cant get itself any decent representatives.

Irfan said...

Excuse me, Comical? Are you suggesting I hid behind a pseudonym? My name is Irfan Yusuf. What's your name? Or aren't you prepared to say?

And what makes you think I am opposed to Australia and the basic policy framework of the current conservative government? When was the last time you ran as a Federal candidate for the Coalition?

Thankfully I have enough Jewish friends to realise not all are as highly strung as you about a foreign country. I am happy for you to criticise India. Why are you so stroppy when I am mildly critical of Israel?

Blind worshippers of Israel have always been a minority in the Jewish community. I can understand Jewish sentiment toward the world's only Jewish state. But that should not translate into sychophantism.

Comical, why not share your trie identity with us? Tell us your real name. After all, you have expressed your opposition to the use of pseudonyms. You claim to speak for all Jews. Tell Jewish readers who you really are.

Comical_Ali said...

I didn’t express opposition to the use of pseudonyms per se. I only expressed opposition to your use and abuse of pseudonyms as a means to launch cheap rebuttals/personal attacks to posters you dont agree with on your own blog! "Cheap" of course is certainly an understatement -- its all part of a cut and run tactic. Why not just stick to being yourself when on your own blog and not resort to shoddy tactics? Its called accountability. As someone who makes himself public and comes out with his own blog – you basically bound yourself to a certain obligation – i.e. refraining from the use of other pseudonyms on your very own blog! I, on the other hand did not bind myself to such an obligation and am entitled to my anonymity.

"And what makes you think I am opposed to Australia and the basic policy framework of the current conservative government? When was the last time you ran as a Federal candidate for the Coalition?"

So I take it you support Australia's foreign policy, its historical US alliance, its war on terror (Afghanistan and Iraq), not to mention government moves to combat home grown Islamic extremism (with the new terrorism laws etc)? That’s what you are in effect saying - right?

And it speaks volumes when your natural knee-jerk reaction to anyone who disagrees with you, is to assume or label that person in question as "Jewish."

I claimed to speak for all Jews? That’s a bit of a bold statement Irf…now where’s the evidence to back that up?

And yes, Irf I'm sure you have "plenty of Jewish friends" (a very original thing to say for questionable characters such as yourself)

Irfan said...

Mr Ali (or should that be Ali-G?), you have your views. I have mine.

If you are offended by my views, all I can do is quote from a certain side-kick of the bhagwan shree rajneesh named sheila and declare "tough titties".

I can only claim to speak for myself. I am no Muslim community spokesman, and would prefer not to have such a role. But then, at least people know who I am.

You, on the other hand, choose to hide behind a pseudonym without having the guts to come out and reveal your identity.

Your credibility is compromised by your unwillingness to tell us who you are.

Here is a litmus test. When the Australian government joined the Coalition to invade Afghanistan, I supported the government's move despite the fact that Muslims would inevitably be killed.

I also support Australia's continued involvement in Iraq, despite opposing the initial invasion. Then again, I wasn't the only one to oppose the war.

If Australia decided to invade and/or punish Israel as part of an international action to enforce all the UN Resolutions Israel has flouted, would you support Australia?

This is the real test of loyalty. Will you pass that test? Since you have questioned my loyalty to Australia, I think it is only fair that yours also be examined.

There are people inside Israel itself who agree with the positions I take in relation to Middle Eastern issues. And they are by no means a minority.

Someone here suggested you should return to Israel. I beg to differ. Given your inability to accept legitimate criticism of Israel, I doubt you would survive in a country so many of whose citizens criticise its government and military.

Comical_Ali said...

You've made several apperances on TV, had columns published and been quoted in the press - all as someone who represents the Muslim community and speaks on Islamic related issues. Like it or not - you are a representative, be it official or unofficial.

And your giving me a loyalty test? Why dwell on unreleastic hypotheticals. First and foremost as a born and bred Australian, my loyalty is naturually with Australia. Secondly, Australia is not going to invade Israel for "flouting UN resolutions." Aside from Australia sharing common values with Israel - Israel unlike Iraq did not flout BINDING UN resolutions from the Security council (the non-binding resolutions it allegedly "flouts" from the general assembly are irrelvent and cant be legally enforced) and neither is it a rogue state which (like Iraq) used unconventional weapons against innocent civilians (see Halabja) or emenmy combatants (see Iraq/Iran war). In addition its Muslim extremists not Jewish who are murdering and slaughtering innocent civilians in major world capitals around the world. Its Muslim (concidentally born and bred Australian muslims - thats loyalty right out the door) not Jewish extremists who are threatening Australian lives on Australian soil. And in her fight against all threats to her security and way of life, I suppport my country 110%. Quite clearly you dont and there happens to be a clear conflict of interest.

Irfan said...

Mr Ali, I write on a range of issues and appear for a range of reasons. I have even appeared in the Jewish News. Does that make me a spokesman on Jewish affairs, on anti-semitsm, on the NSW Liberal Right or on industrial relations?

And for all we know, you might also have appeared many a time. But we won't know that because you are too spineless to reveal your true identity.

Further, your suggestion that Israel has never used unconventional weapons is a lie. Or haven't you read Benny Morris' history?

Finally, you suggest that being Muslim is incompatible with being Australian. Have you consider seviving the One Nation Party? Or perhaps even the Nazi Party? Your sentiments echo those of Nazis made toward Jews and other minorities in Europe during the 1920's and 30's.

Your hated for your fellow Australians of Muslim background is virtually as bad as the Iranian President's hatred for Israel.

Why are you so afraid of revealing your identity? Are you to embarrassed to show your face here? Are you too afraid for readers to discover who it is that reflect only the most extreme fringe of Jewish opinion?

Go on. Tell us who you are.

Comical_Ali said...

Dear Irf,

Please enlighten me on "Benny Morris's history" - or any other credible source for that matter- concerning Israel's use of unconventional weapons agaisnt civilians. I'm curious to know.

Or are you just propogating a pure blood libel?

As for my suppossed suggestion about "being Muslim is incompatable with being Australian" and my having to join the One nation/Nazi party as a result - (a bold statement for someone who defends Hilaly's infamous 1988 Hitleresque speech on how "Jews are emenies of humanity and the cause of all wars," claiming that the speeach was "misinterpreted" and "taken out of context")- I never made such a statement about muslims and challange you to point out where I did.

Or are you just refering to my accussing you of duel loyalty? If thats the case, than dont convienantly twist my words into something else. My accusation was a simple response to your very own accussation of duel loyalty and the rant "go back to Israel, if you dont like it here."

I find it odd, that you and other Jihadist apologists (out of all people) would accusse someone with my political stance of having duel loyalties - challanging me to leave Australia, "if (I) dont like it here". Interestingly its a common accussation the jihadis and their dhimmitwitted supporters make against people who commonly sympathise with America and Israel. Such an accustion is odd, because my stance unlike your own is perfectly in line with the Australian government. Odd, because its Jihadist extremsists who are threatening Australian lives on Australian soil and not Jewish zionists.

And your "appearance" in the Jewish news - tell me was that in relation to Muslim/middle eastern issues? A person who announces that he is a Muslim and appears in public talking about muslim related issues, is subsequently a representative of his community - be it official or unofficial. Its quite silly for you to deny otherwise and say that you are not representing your own community.

As for your continued fascination over my identity - I dont see why that should be relevant. Its the argument/debate that you should be focused on and not the person. The fact that you have such a fascination, only goes to show that your general argument/stance in debating with me is weak. Quite simply you have no credible argument at all.

And I'm afraid that people might think that I represent the most exreme fringe of "Jewish oppinion?" Pray, please tell me what that is? Is it giving lectures on how "Muslims are the enemies of humanity" and the "cause of all wars" or better still refusing to condemn such lectures or worse defending what was said by claiming that the mufti was "minsinterpreted" and his speech "taken out of context" or "delibratley twisted" to suit one's agenda"?

I'm curious to know the gravity of my own extremism, from someone who is calling the kettle black.

Irfan said...

Comical, until you reveal your true identity, I won't respond to your racist and chauvinistic rants.

Mt final suggestion to you is to write a book. Given your belief in Muslim conspiracies, I can even suggest a titke. Call it: "The Protocols of the Learned Mullahs of Lakemba".

Now the ball is in your court. You keep avoiding the issue of your deliberate refusal to reveal who you really are. Yet you continue to make comments and claim they reflect mainstream Jewish opinion.

So tell us who you really are. Given your venom and hatred toward a sheik in his 60's, I can take a wild guess you obviously are not Douglas Wood.

Comical_Ali said...

Hatred and venom toward a sheik in his 60's?

So his age should automatically absolve him over any wrong doing - i.e he is not responsible over anything he did or say as spiritual leader of Australia's muslims? There is no accountability what so ever? And the fact that to this day he never attempted to retract or apologise is beside the point? He's just a little old man in his 60's - who only just happens to carry the responsbility of leading the main body tasked with representing Australia's muslims - the Federal Islamic Council.

And you accuse me of hatred and venom quite simply because I merley pointed out that this prominent Muslim leader once said that the "Jews were the enemies of humanity" and "the cause of all wars." And who could forget his recent praise of suicide bombers?

I'm racist and chauvinistic for just pointing this out? I should join One nation or the Nazi party?

Well, you've certainly gone out of your way to prove to me that you really do live on planet Irf as oppossed to planet earth.

The fact that you dont even pretend to condemn his past statements - and even go to a further extreme and defend or excuse these statements - pretty much speaks for itself.

And you've got the chutzpah to tell me to join the Nazi party?

Finally, why is my identity so important to you? Why is it relevant and what is it going to change? One should focus on the debate here and not the person. Your continued focus on the person rather than the debate, proves that its your only way to side track the issues at hand and the simple fact that all your arguments are flawed.

And if I was Douglas Wood, I would probably say "sheik...who" as he famously asked after he was rescued by US and Iraqi forces (whilst the sheik was in Egypt at the time). And heaven forbid, if one were to think that the controversial sheik's excursion to Iraq were not based on ulterior motives...he merley did this out of the pure kindness of his heart. It had nothing to do with clearing his bad name and reputation with the Australian government and public.

Anonymous said...

ok, mate, i'll admit it. you're right in everything. no one is allowed to disagree with you, oh great one. you can defame anyone. No one can sue you.

take your pills and go jump, Mr Comical. you sound like you haven't slept for a few months.

Irfan said...

Mr Comical, unless you are prepared to reveal your identity, your words will mean about as much as the contents of my "deleted" box.

Why are you so reluctant to reveal who you are? Are you ashamed of yourself?

Anonymous said...

not to mention the fact that this 'spiritual leader' represents about as much of the muslim community as my grandma does (who is non-muslim). Same goes for AFIC who created his position in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I guess the same could be said about Australia's largest mosque (with the biggets congregation) - Lakemba... which the Mufti happens to head as well.

Quite clearly you people are in denial mode and other make the lamest excuses when confronted with the Mufti's Nazi rhetoric ("Venom hatred toward a sheik in his 60's"...or this "'spiritual leader' represents about as much of the muslim community as my grandma does"). Instead of outright denouncing and condemning his outrageous remarks, you keep making excuses. Keep going guys - the more you do that the more you endear yourselves to Australia and its mulitcultural environment

Anonymous said...

the day all jews apologise for Sharon's massacres of palestinians and lebanese, and the day all catholics apologise for all those poor victims of pedophilia is the day all moslems should apologise for what some dimwit sheik has to say. the tamil tigers did more suicide bombings than all moslems put together. go ask himdus to apologise for that.

Anonymous said...

you people are pathetic